By Mike Lombardi
Special to The Witness
DUBUQUE — The St. Anthony Knights of Columbus Council is once again pleased to announce the honorees for Knight of the Year and Family of the Year. The main tenants of the Knights of Columbus include charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. These values are the measure that our council officers consider when nominating and eventually selecting recipients for these awards.
The 2015 honorees are Mike Carr for Knight of the Year and Kyle and Stephanie Klapatauskas for Family of the Year. Knight of the Year Mike Carr, the recipient of the 2015 award, has demonstrated his commitment to service in the community and our parish. As Knight of the Year, Mike embodies the core values of the Knights in both his words and his actions.
Mike is a 4th degree member with 15 years of continuous service to the Knights of Columbus. While stationed with the Air Force in Waverly, Iowa, he met his wife, Barb, where she worked at a local restaurant. They have been married 46 years and have three children, Brad, Tracey and Lisa, as well as three grandchildren, Cameron, Gavin and Ava. Educational achievements include degrees from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s from the University of Missouri.
Mike served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a full colonel after 27 years. After the military he continued working for the state of California in a variety of positions. His career focus included communication, management and leadership as well as reviewing pending legislation and providing feedback to lawmakers in the areas of corrections and technology. He also served for two years as a contract professional mediator for the U.S. Postal Service. Upon full retirement in 2006, Mike and Barb moved to Dubuque.
In his spare time Mike enjoys playing guitar, astronomy and genealogy. Mike has served as a Knight both here at St. Anthony’s as well as his former California Council. He has held positions as Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, Chancellor, Recorder and Trustee. Some of his accomplishments as a Knight include: assisted in the launch of our KC website, PID (tootsie roll drive) coordinator for three years, first degree team, helped to facilitate creation of the KC commemorative wall in O’Malley Hall, crossing guard, sick and distressed program and edited/
updated KC membership pamphlet.
Many of us are often unaware of the charitable activities some of our fellow parishioners are involved with. We have all seen Mike around the parish serving as a greeter, making omelets, and of course we have all seen him on Sunday mornings assisting parishioners at the church entrance. Additionally, he has helped with parish prayer line, pro-life activities, and spring and fall cleanups, visited the sick, participated in Emmaus weekends and served as a eucharistic minister.
Mike and Barb have stood in prayer with others at Planned Parenthood and have worked at the Donna Ginter Thanksgiving dinners. He served as the Dubuque County Republican Co-chair for six years. Along with all of this, Mike is a cancer survivor and has participated in Relay for Life. While he would never think to mention it, I know that Mike has been a loving and steadfast caregiver to his wife, Barb, during her lengthy and ongoing illness. Sadly, Mike and Barb are moving back to California this June. Their absence will leave a void in our parish community. Even though he is moving on, Mike has left behind an inspired and invigorated Council 8384.
Family of the Year
Because of their service to the parish, Kyle and Stephanie Klapatauskas represent the viewpoints held by the Knights of Columbus. Kyle is a first degree member with seven years of continuous service in our council.
Kyle and Steph have been married for 11 years and have four sons, Nicholas, 9; Jonathan, 6; Peter, 5; and Andrew, 2. They met while attending Loras College when they were seated next to each other in theater/choir classes. Kyle is employed by Loras College as the admission director of recruitment and retention. Stephanie is employed as the religious education coordinator at St. Anthony’s and oversees many aspects of faith development. They have been members of St. Anthony’s for seven years. When not tending to their children, both enjoy acting in murder mysteries. In addition, Steph loves singing, reading, baking and art. Kyle fills his spare time with gardening, writing and sports. While their four sons certainly keep them busy, it is admirable to see how involved they are within our parish community. It is especially heartening to see them while attending Sunday Masses with their four young charges in tow.
This is no small task by any measure and a real testimony to their strong faith. As a Knight, Kyle has co-chaired the annual PID (persons with intellectual disabilities) fundraiser and will be involved with the 2016 effort. Like many of his fellow brothers, he also helps out with our omelet breakfasts. Kyle also serves as a mentor for the prison ministry program in the archdiocese. Both he and Steph have been involved in the Emmaus weekends in many capacities. Steph is a eucharistic minister and as a couple, they teach Baptism 1 classes and also speak at Pre-Cana sessions. Mike, Kyle and Stephanie are shining examples of charitable giving and service in our community and here at St Anthony’s. The Knights of Columbus Council 8384 is proud to have these active and compassionate members among our ranks. Lombardi is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council of St. Anthony Parish.
Kyle and Stephanie Klapatauskas appear with family holding their award.